Information and Advice for Adults in East Dunbartonshire

Month: May 2017

How to manage back pain

Nearly 10 million working days are lost each year for adults aged 25-64 due to back pain – and around 80% of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives.

The financial cost to the UK economy is estimated to be around £12bn per year, plus there are huge personal and emotional costs. Most cases of back pain are self-limiting and probably go within a few weeks, but many suffer on much longer than this.

OPAL  can help you access services to move towards full working order and can help you find the activities to maintain this.

What causes back pain?

It is always important to rule out specific causes such as cancer, infections and fractures, so seek advice from a medical professional if you’re concerned

The vast majority of back pain cases have no sinister cause and are called non-specific, and there are a wide variety of therapies that can be useful.

Here are some simple tips that may help you with your back pain.

1. Get up regularly from your desk

Set an alarm once every hour to remind you to get up and move around. Perhaps try a standing desk, a different chair or even a Swiss ball.

2. Prioritise active relaxation

This could be meditation, yoga, or simply going for a walk.

3. Find a regular form of activity that you enjoy

You are much more likely to engage with an activity long term if you enjoy it. I suggested Tai Chi to Mark because he loved martial arts.

4. Try and be as active as possible

Don’t underestimate the benefits of regular walking.


BBC Health. 2017. How to manage back pain. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40050863. [Accessed 31 May 2017]

Four changes to your diet that can improve your mental health immediately

Approximately one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year.

As part of our fight against this, we have a very much underutilised tool – food. Often a poor diet can have an unexpected impact on mental health but the evidence of food’s link to mental states has been growing.

A landmark 2015 article in the prestigious Lancet journal stated that nutrition may be as important to mental health as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.

Plus, a small but important interventional Australian study from earlier this year showed that a modified Mediterranean diet significantly helped many patients with severe depression within 12 weeks.

Here are four steps you can do immediately to reep the benefits and improve your mental health through diet;

1. Reduce sugar and processed foods

Sugar, food that contains sugar, or even food that is converted quickly into sugar, such as many breakfast cereals, cause your blood sugar to rapidly rise.

Within two to three hours your sugar levels then start to fall.

At this point, you may not only feel hungry, you can feel “h-angry” as well – hungry and angry.

Low and falling blood sugar levels can cause a rise in your body’s stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline.

This can have a negative impact on your mood.

2. Increase your intake of Omega-3 fats

This is an essential nutrient for brain function and may protect against anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.

Foods high in Omega-3 fats include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies), grass-fed meat, seeds and leafy vegetables.

3. Eat more tryptophan-containing foods like pork, chicken, seeds and walnuts

Tryptophan is an amino acid the body converts into serotonin, your feel-good neurotransmitter.

Eat them with a healthy carbohydrate source such as sweet potatoes, which helps to transport more tryptophan into your blood.

4. Feed your gut bugs

Some scientists refer to the trillions of gut bugs that live inside us, the gut microbiota, as the brain’s peacekeepers.

It is thought that having a healthy population of gut bugs can have a significant influence on your mood via the gut-brain axis.

The prebiotic fibre contained in vegetables help your gut bugs to proliferate, so the best way to maintain a healthy population is to increase your intake of vegetables, as well as fermented foods such as sauerkraut.

Best options are leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

Full article available on BBC wesbite


[BBC. 2017. How food can improve your mental health. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39976706. Accessed 22 May 2017.]

Big Fit Walk National Launch 2017

Michelle McManus to launch campaign to get Scots active

Michelle McManus is inviting locals to help her kick off Scotland’s Big Fit Walk campaign in Kirkintilloch.

On Friday 26 May, singer and presenter Michelle will officially launch Scottish charity Paths for All’s national walking campaign in a bid to get Scots active, in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust (EDLC).

Get more Scots active

The aim of the Big Fit Walk campaign is simple.  Get more people In Scotland walking more often.

Michelle said: “I’m always happiest when I’m keeping active and I love walking, especially with my friends and family. I find it such an easy way to keep my mind and body healthy.

“That’s why I’m excited to be launching the Big Fit Walk this year, because it’s all about celebrating the benefits of a fun, sociable walk. Come and join us…and bring a friend!”

Walking is free, easy and accessible

Each June, the Big Fit Walk supports communities, schools, groups and workplaces across Scotland to organise their own walk and experience the physical, mental and social benefits of being active.

Ian Findlay, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “In a nation where too many of us are unfit and inactive, walking is one of the easiest ways to incorporate a little more activity into our day. A simple short walk is free, accessible for most and has a wealth of benefits.  It can help to protect us from developing heart disease, stroke or some cancers, improve our mood and make us feel better connected in our communities.

“The Big Fit Walk helps put the fun into walking! Walking in groups can boost self-esteem, create opportunities to meet new people in our area, or discover some local hidden treasures. We’re thrilled to launch our Big Fit Walk campaign with EDLC who are fantastic advocates of everyday walking and strive to improve the health and wellbeing of their community by providing walking opportunities for all.”

Join the launch

Mark Grant, General Manager of East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust said, “It is an honour for East Dunbartonshire to have been selected as the location for the national launch of Big Fit Walk 2017. It’s a real recognition of the success of the WALK Project here and all the fantastic support from our partners.

“We want as many people as possible to come down to Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre on 26 May and join in the fun.

“It’s a great opportunity to show off some of the wonderful scenery we have in East Dunbartonshire and introduce people to walking routes and paths they might not know about.”
You can join Michelle on the Big Fit Walk on Friday 26 May at 12.15pm, leaving from the Kirkintilloch leisure centre.

Big Fit Walk Poster 2017 final

More information on the Paths for All website


[East Dunbartonshire Council. 2017. Big Fit Walk National Launch. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/news/big-fit-walk-national-launch. Accessed 22 May 2017.]

Police Scotland: Closing the door to bogus callers

Greater Glasgow Police Division are urging residents to close the door on bogus callers following the launch a high-profile awareness campaign that offers simple, yet effective advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.

Although bogus caller crime has reduced by 64% in the last six months across the Greater Glasgow area, the summer weather can often bring tricksters out to prey on vulnerable people.

Officers, supported by colleagues from Trading Standards, Scottish Fire Service, Care and Repair and the Good Morning Service, are highlighting the dangers posed by confidence tricksters who con their way into people’s homes.

As the weather improves and the days are longer, there is a greater chance of someone calling unannounced at your door. Police are reminding people that if someone turns up unexpectedly at your home, whether offering to carry out work, selling something or claiming to be from one of the utility services, you can always ask for identification, call the company to verify the visit or simply refuse entry.

Chief Inspector David Pettigrew, Safer Communities, said:

“In the last six months, the number of bogus caller crimes in the Greater Glasgow area has fallen by 64%.  There have been 27 bogus caller crimes reported to police compared to 76 recorded for the same period last year.

“Bogus callers can take on a variety of different aliases to try and get through the door. They are very convincing and it’s not always obvious who they are.  Our advice would be if in doubt, keep them out.

“Not everyone who comes to your door is up to something.  Genuine callers will not mind if you check their ID or call their office to confirm who they are.

“Although anyone can be a target, older people are who these criminals tend to target most because of a perceived vulnerability and it can have a hugely detrimental effect on the life of victims.

“If you can please look out for older relatives and neighbours and report anything suspicious. There is a lot of safety information on our website and available from local community officers and we hope that events like this will highlight what you can do to keep safe and what we and our partner agencies can do to help you.

“We are determined to catch the people responsible for this cowardly crime but we need to hear from those involved.  Yes, sometimes people can be embarrassed that they have been duped, but please don’t be, it’s not your fault. Always call police.


Well worth a watch – our #BeatDoorstepCrime ad. Simple message: if in doubt – keep them out: https://youtu.be/pQUTZbVnFio

Operation Monarda drives home the message: “If In Doubt, Keep Them Out”.

If someone arrives to your home unexpectedly:

  • don’t allow anyone entry to your home unless you have verified their identity by telephone;
  • ensure your windows and doors are secure;
  • make use of door chains and bars.

Operation Monarda brings together public, private and third sector organisations to help minimise risk and prevent harm to vulnerable and older people from criminals who commit doorstep crime. It operates as a preventative project, and encompasses engagement work with the general public, as well as enforcement work to target criminals.


[Police Scotland. 2017. Closing the door to bogus callers. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.scotland.police.uk/whats-happening/news/2017/may/closing-the-door-to-bogus-callers. Accessed 22 May 2017.]

The importance of exercise

“Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence.”

Research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Aside from these obvious health benefits the team at OPAL regard exercise so highly as it provides an opportunity for you to reconnect with your local community by trying something new.

Your OPAL Adviser can help you find local activities and explore what services are available to you in East Dunbartonshire.

Check out this Physical activity infographic for NHS guidelines and have a look at the Benefits of Exercise for further information or contact OPAL today on 0141 438 2347 or info@opaleastdun.og.uk

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 is fast approaching.

1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems in our lifetime. This number does not take into consideration those who do not access support – asking for help is the first step to dealing with it. In current news an English International footballer has been detained under the Mental Health Act. The details are unclear but this example highlights that people from all walks of life have mental health, and the importance of building on it. You can read more about this story here.

Running from 8th – 14th May, the topic to consider this year is ‘why too few of us are thriving with good mental health’. Instead of thinking about the causes of ill mental health we are all invited to share online what encourages good mental health and works for us. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the strategy, resources and experience of us all.

You can read about the online campaign and how to get involved on the Mental Health Foundation website

& for more information on services available in East Dunbartonshire, contact OPAL.


Local Elections 2017

OPAL may not be able to tell you who to vote for but we can certainly provide some information on the process. This year you are voting for..

Full list of candidates in East Dunbartonshire

Number of Councillors elected in each area:

Ward Number of Councillors
Milngavie 3
Bearsden North 3
Bearsden South 3
Bishopbriggs North and Campsie 4
Bishopbriggs South 3
Lenzie and Kirkintilloch South 3
Kirkintilloch East and North and Twechar 3

And this video will explain the full voting process 


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén